At a time when lovers are incurring the wrath of caste panchayats for getting married despite their families’opposition, a village panchayat in Sitapur, 80 km north of Lucknow, has set an example by pitching in to unite one such young couple.
The panchayat got the lovers—Manoj Kumar (20) and Peelan Devi (18)—married in Fattepur village of Talgaon police station on Tuesday.
Village pradhan Uttam feels immensely proud of the panchayat decision. Talking to HT on phone, he appreciated the efforts of a villager Vijay Jaiswal, who was the first to raise a voice in favour of the couple and played a major role in getting them married.
Uttam said the couple’s families had strained relations ever since they came to know about their wards’ affair about three months ago. But finally the matter was sorted out with the intervention of the villagers and panchayat members.
Jaiswal told HT he was motivated to help the couple after he came to know about their plight a month ago. They had had an affair for the last two years but their families were against their marriage.
“I read so much about honour killings in the newspapers. I decided that this thing would not be repeated in my village. I do not want to be part of the killer community,” Jaiswal said.
He said both the girl and the boy belonged to the same community and village but their families opposed their marriage due to difference in their financial status. The boy’s family was well-off while the girl was from a poor family.
“I along with some villagers and panchayat members arranged a meeting of both the families and tried to convince them. The meeting was slightly fruitful, as the girl’s father Ram Kumar agreed but the boy’s father Chhote Lal did not. He even shifted the boy forcibly from the village ,” Jaiswal said.
“We were in regular touch with the boy’s father and kept on convincing him. Finally he relented and the marriage was solemnized in a simple ceremony in a Hanuman temple of the village”.
Jaiswal proudly said this was the only marriage in the village in which members from each and every household participated and gave their blessings to the young couple.